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The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Daily Drift

With the wingnuts - We'll go with imbeciles ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 200 countries around the world daily.   
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Today in History

1620   Leaders of the Mayflower expedition frame the "Mayflower Compact," designed to bolster unity among the settlers.
 1783   Jean de Rozier and the Marquis d'Arlandes make the first free-flight ascent in a balloon to over 500 feet in Paris.  
1789   North Carolina ratifies the Constitution, becoming the 12th state to do it.  
1855   Franklin Colman, a pro-slavery Missourian, guns down Charles Dow, a Free Stater from Ohio, near Lawrence, Kansas.  
1864   From Georgia, Confederate General John B. Hood launches the Franklin-Nashville Campaign into Tennessee.  
1904   Motorized omnibuses replace horse-drawn cars in Paris.  
1906   In San Juan, President Theodore Roosevelt pledges citizenship for Puerto Rican people.
1907   Cunard liner Mauritania sets a new speed record for steamship travel, 624 nautical miles in a one day run.  
1911   Suffragettes storm Parliament in London. All are arrested and all choose prison terms.
1917   German ace Rudolf von Eschwege is killed over Macedonia when he attacks a booby-trapped observation balloon packed with explosives.  
1918   The last German troops leave Alsace-Lorraine, France.  
1927   Police turn machine guns on striking Colorado mine workers, killing five and wounding 20.  
1934   A New York court rules Gloria Vanderbilt unfit for custody of her daughter.
1934   Cole Porter's musical Anything Goes premieres at New York's Alvin Theater.  
1949   The United Nations grants Libya its independence by 1952.  
1967   President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the air quality act, allotting $428 million for the fight against pollution.  
1970   U.S. planes conduct widespread bombing raids in North Vietnam.  
1985   US Navy intelligence analyst Jonathan Pollard arrested for spying and passing classified information to Israel; he received a life sentence on Nov. 1, 1987.  
1986   The Justice Department begins an inquiry into the National Security Council into what will become known as the Iran-Contra scandal.  
1995   The Dayton Peace Agreement is initialed at Wright Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio; the agreement, formally ratified in Paris on Dec. 14, ends the three-and-a-half year war between Bosnia and Herzegovina.  
2006   Anti-Syrian Lebanese Minister and MP Pierre Gemayel assassinated in Beirut.

Herbs, Spices and The Heart

Herbs and spices enhance heart health as well as flavor

Spices and herbs are rich in antioxidants, which may help improve triglyceride concentrations and other blood lipids, according to Penn State nutritionists. Triglyceride levels rise after eating a high-fat meal […]

Are you sure you're not dead?

Cotard's delusion is a rare mental disorder in which the sufferer is convinced that he or she is dead. From Mind Hacks:
deco_medIt’s worth noting that although Cotard’s delusion has come to represent ‘the delusion that you’re dead’, Jules Cotard’s original description (from 1880) was not actually that – it was a delusion of negation where the patient believed, as noted by Berrios and Luque, that she had “no brain, nerves, chest, or entrails, and was just skin and bone”, that “neither God or the devil existed”, and that she did not need food for “she was eternal and would live forever”.

German town plays prank on neo-Nazis

by Rick Noack
Policemen are standing next to banners of the action group "Wunsiedel is Colorful" along the route of a demonstration by far-right extremists. 
For decades, neo-Nazis have traveled to the southeastern German town of Wunsiedel, where Rudolf Hess, Adolf Hitler's deputy, was buried until 2011. The right-wing extremists march through the town in commemoration of Hess year after year, glorifying the horrors of the Third Reich.
This time, however, everything was different: Although Wunsiedel's inhabitants had observed the march from a distance over the past years, this Nov. 15, some of them welcomed the neo-Nazi protesters effusively with rainbow confetti and even cheered for them. What had happened?
No, the residents of Wunsiedel — most of them skeptical and critical of the neo-fascists — had not suddenly turned into Nazi sympathizers.
Instead, the group Rights versus Rights (Rechts gegen Rechts) had come up with a new way to protest the annual neo-Nazi march: For every meter the neo-Nazis walked, local businesses and residents would donate $12.50 to a nongovernmental organization devoted to making it easier for neo-Nazis to leave behind their hateful politics. The scene was captured on video by the group:
The group Rights versus Rights (Rechts gegen Rechts) turned a walk that traditionally celebrating Rudolf Hess, Adolf Hitler's deputy, into a fundraiser for helping neo-Nazis move away from their ideology. 
The 200 neo-Nazis had only two choices when they got to know about the plan: Either they proceeded, indirectly donating money to the EXIT Germany initiative, or they acknowledged their defeat and suspended the march.
The neo-Nazis decided to pursue their plans — and participated in raising funds for an organization committed to their downfall. According to a news release by the organizers, street banners ironically encouraged the neo-Nazis to continue their march with words such as "Final sprint instead of victory" — a reference to the fact that many neo-Nazis refuse to acknowledge that Hitler's goal was to gain a "final victory" over the jews.
Police officers keep watch along the route of a demonstration by far-right extremists in the southeastern German town of Wunsiedel. 
Germany has a long history of violent clashes between left-wing and right-wing protesters attempting to stop each other's marches. Each year in February, inhabitants of the eastern German city of Dresden commemorate the bombardment and destruction of their city during World War II. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, neo-Nazis have increasingly abused the commemorations to organize massive gatherings and marches that have ended in open streetfights with authorities and left-wing activists.
Given the often-violent nature of those "commemorations," the idea to turn a neo-Nazi spectacle into an occasion of tolerance and charity was a breath of fresh air. "We wanted to create an alternative to counter-demonstrations," Fabian Wichmann, an education researcher at EXIT Germany, told the Local, a German news site.
As you can see wingnuts are getting their comeuppance around the world and like the wingnuts here they are too stupid to realize it.

Child Homelessness and Poverty Are Rising So repugicans Plan Harsh Program Cuts

With inhumane austerity cuts, the repugican cabal is getting precisely what they live for; more despair and destitution among the poor, especially children.…
There have been several encouraging economic reports over the past two years, and compared to directly after repugicans crashed the economy in 2008, they are indicators of recovery for the nation, and simply outstanding for Wall Street, corporations, the oil industry, and the richest  Americans. Along with every good economic report over the past year, there has been an accompanying shameful report for the richest nation on Earth revealing that the least advantaged Americans are sinking deeper into despair. There have even been reports that America’s storied middle class continues losing economic ground due to stagnating wages, and is declining at about the same pace as the poor who are getting much poorer. Despite the good economic news, the poor particularly find nothing whatsoever encouraging about the “outstanding recovery for the rich.”
In October, 78% of voters said they were worried that their financial situations will continue getting worse while the wealthy, Wall Street, and corporations get richer and richer. Some financial experts and pundits cannot understand why the poor and middle class are not celebrating the good news about the economic recovery. Despite promising economic trends, millions of Americans who have found work are barely surviving with poverty wages that are not keeping up with inflation, much less afford very modest housing for their families. A new report should clarify why most Americans, particularly poor Americans are not impressed, or encouraged about the recovery; no matter how good economic news appears.
The shocking report on the plight of the poor by the National Center of Family Homelessness (NCFH) revealed that as of 2013, one out of every 30 children in America is homeless. That works out to a shameful 2.5 million children (and rising) who are living on the streets, in cash-strapped shelters, in tents, in cars, or crammed together in “unstable housing with other families, relatives, or friends who are suffering equally financial and housing instability.” According to the NCFH director, Dr. Carmela DeCandia, “The impact of the Great Recession has really lingered for poor families despite other positive turns in the economy. Poverty is the driving factor behind family homelessness.” In fact, according to government statistics included in the report, 45-million Americans live in poverty and struggle to survive on an income at or below $19,530 for a family of 3, according to government statistics highlighted in the report. Of that 45-million, nearly half, or 22-million Americans, live in extreme poverty with incomes less than $11,157 for a family of four.
Family homelessness was not a big problem in America until the 1980s when cuts to social programs, particularly programs for low-income housing, sent many poor families into the street. Those who have a memory likely remember that it was in the 1980s that repugicans’ man-god, Ronald Reagan, told Americans that “government is the problem,” and their mortal enemy, and promptly slashed social programs for the poor. Reagan pulled a similar inhumane stunt while governor of California and ordered all of the state’s mental institutions shuttered killing countless jobs and sending thousands of mentally ill patients, en masse, into the streets. It is the repugican  lack of humanity for those least advantaged, particularly America’s children, that has repugicans panting to repeat when they take control of Congress.
In the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, the number of homeless children increased temporarily, but the statistics appeared to decline as victims found housing. However, thanks to the shrub-repugican Great Recession destroying millions of jobs, and repugican cabal banking deregulation that created the housing crisis, child homelessness shot back up to a sickening 1.6 million by 2010. Due to repugican obstruction and cuts to housing assistance, and failure to even consider raising the federal poverty wage, the rate of child homelessness continues to climb. According to the report, child homelessness surged by 8% nationally by 2012 and it is down to poverty wages that are declining against the rise in the cost of living. Coupled with inhumane austerity cuts, the repugican cabal is getting precisely what they live for; more despair and destitution among the poor, especially children.
Obviously, child homelessness, like child poverty, is rampant across the red states where repugicans enacted right-to-work for less laws keeping wages at poverty levels. For example, 59,349 Alabama children were homeless during the 2012-2013 school year up from 35,239 the year before. Alabama’s minimum wage is $7.25, while a two bedroom apartment requires that tenants make at least double that rate; food is another issue altogether. 27% of Alabama’s children live in dire poverty and the incoming  The repugican Congress will make sure that percentage rises. In Mississippi, 26,108 children are without homes and with the minimum wage at $7.25, the child poverty rate is 35% and rising. In Arkansas, 29% of children are homeless, live in dire poverty, and like New Mexico and most of the South, the income required to rent a tiny two-bedroom apartment is at least double the minimum wage.
The NCFH report offered a “very simple solution” to address the nation’s epidemic of child homelessness. The solution starts with “agreeing as a nation that children living doubled-up in basements and attics with relatives and friends are homeless and need our help. The next step is to ensure an adequate supply of safe, affordable housing combined with essential services. To remain housed, parents need employment opportunities that provide adequate income; this necessitates education, job training, transportation, and childcare.” President Obama has called on Congress to address all of those “simple solutions,” but they have instead offered up tax cuts for the rich, environmental and workplace deregulation, and threats to eliminate the federal minimum wage.
There is a reason repugicans have ignored indicators of economic recovery that primarily benefited their wealthy supporters over the past five years. Despite the stock market is at record highs, the budget deficit at a record lows, taxes and spending lowest in 60 years, they intend to slash spending on social programs and cut taxes for their wealthy supporters. It is why the repugican Congress will expedite passage of the Path to Prosperity budget to inflict more, much much more, damage on the poor and middle class and give more wealth to the one percent. It is just what repugicans do regardless that their precious donors have reaped all the economic recovery, and with this latest report that their inhumane austerity has increased child homelessness and poverty, they will be emboldened to do what they do best; inflict more harm on the poor, especially poor children.

The religio-wingnuts Demand to Choose the repugican Candidate for President

Bryan Fischer demands an evangelical coven to choose candidates for president. 
Tough luck, catholics, jews, muslims, Atheists, and others
It says "We the People," not "We the Evangelical leaders"
It says “We the People,” not “We the evangelical leaders”
Bryan Fischer pulled no punches in calling for a candidate for president chosen by a summit composed of religio-wingnut leaders. “It’s kind of like picking a pope,” said Fischer.
No, it’s not, says the Constitution.
But Fischer is wrong: what he is proposing is really not kind of like, but exactly like. And catholics beware: your opinion is not welcome. The electors will be protestants, leaders of the evangelical cabal, according to Fischer.
I’m hoping that anti-family leaders, evangelical leaders…would come together, have a summit meeting. That they would bring all these various candidates that share our values, get ‘em in a room, and grill ‘em. Have the leaders of the anti-family movement grill these guys one after another and probe them and challenge them and test them and ask them really hard questions about what they would do as president of the United States with this issue or that issue. What would you do? Where would you stand? And get some promises from these guys. And again, these are people of character and integrity and I still think they need to be probed and pressed.
And then have these anti-family leaders come out of this summit meeting, put their heads together, release all these guys, let them go back to their states and wherever they go, and then put their heads together and it’s kind of like picking a pope. You know it’s kind of that kind of idea and you stay with it until you have the white smoke coming out of the chimney until you pick one candidate that you as a group of leaders would demand that the entire evangelical cabal gather behind.
This is not what the Founding Fathers had in mind. Rather the opposite, in fact. They wanted to keep religion out of politics and politics out of religion, thus the prohibition against a state religion found in the First Amendment.
This is because, as Thomas Jefferson wrote to Charles Clay in 1815, the combination of church and state is “loathsome.” And he told Horatio Spafford a year earlier, “In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty.” His most damning condemnation, perhaps, was expressed to Alexander von Humboldt in 1813, writing that,
History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.
As is well known by now, evangelicals began the process of co-opting the repugican cabal after Goldwater’s defeat in 1964. This was a conscious decision and the beginning of a process which has taken us to Vision America’s Rick Scarborough telling brand-new demon-hunting Colorado State Senator Gordon Klingenschmitt on “pray in jesus name”,
“Fake christians have infiltrated the repugican cabal in Texas and it’s like going to revival meetings when you go to our state conventions.”
For Scarborough, this means “dog’s blessing our state and why, I believe, Texas has become a model for other states,” but Founders like James Madison and Thomas Jefferson would have been apoplectic, because, as Madison wrote in 1774, “Ecclesiastical establishments tend to great ignorance and corruption, all of which facilitate the execution of mischievous projects.”
Mischievous projects. Like taking over the repugican cabal. Like establishing a state religion in violation of the First Amendment.
Like pushing the idea that the First Amendment, which bans such establishments, actually establishes christianity as a state religion. Or is applicable only to christians. This is far from what the Founders intended with the First Amendment. Madison made clear in 1820:
Among the features peculiar to the political system of the United States, is the perfect equality of rights which it secures to every religious sect … Equal laws, protecting equal rights, are found, as they ought to be presumed, the best guarantee of loyalty and love of country; as well as best calculated to cherish that mutual respect and good will among citizens of every religious denomination which are necessary to social harmony, and most favorable to the advancement of truth.
The idea that a religious establishment could in any way be beneficial is a violation of everything the Founders intended and believed. As Madison wrote in his Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments in 1785,
Experience witnesseth that eccelsiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.
He sure called that one right. The religio-wingnuts have given us “superstition, bigotry and persecution” galore. Bryan Fischer has almost single-handedly been proof of that, but he has had plenty of help from people like Gordon Klingenschmitt, David Barton, Rick Scarborough, Tony Perkins, and others, not to mention numerous repugican politicians like Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Ted Cruz, and others.
But at least the religio-wingnuts' end-game all out in the open now, and Americans can see finally – it is hoped – exactly what these bigots have in store for America: an evangelical and completely un-Constitutional theocracy, three branches of government completely in thrall to religio-wingnuts touting a completely unbiblical religion pretending to be christianity.
For mixing cult and state has done to religion exactly what the Founders warned: it has corrupted both to the point where the religion that went into the process in 1964, is no longer identifiable as christianity, and the political cabal it infiltrated is no longer identifiable as the grand old party but has become dog’s own party.
Madison wrote in 1832 of “The tendency of a usurpation on one side or the other, or to a corrupting coalition or alliance between them,” and he was right. We have seen his warning come to fruition with our own eyes two centuries later.
Thomas Jefferson wrote to Miles King in 1814 that, “Our particular principles of religion are a subject of accountability to dog alone.” George Washington agreed, writing in 1789 to the United baptist cults of Virginia that, “every man, conducting himself as a good citizen, and being accountable to dog alone for his religious opinions, ought to be protected in worshiping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience.”
But in Bryan Fischer’s scheme, the religio-wingnuts would put themselves in dog’s place, and force repugican candidates for president to be accountable to them only. Scarborough bragged that “Texas has become a model for other states” but we don’t want the Texas model in our states, or anywhere in our country.
It is impossible to make this sound like a good thing.
Jefferson seems to have been looking both into the past and also into the future when he wrote to Jeremiah Moor in 1800 that, “the clergy, by getting themselves established by law, & ingrafted into the machine of government, have been a very formidable engine against the civil & religious rights of man.”

How The Man Behind Motown’s Sound Conspired To Kill His Family For Money

Lawrence Horn was the chief engineer behind “the Motown sound.” He built, used, and guarded the sound mixing equipment used for hits by The Supremes, The Jackson 5, and The Four Tops, among others, in the 1960s. Horn built a reputation and a good life that included a wife and three children. But the good times didn’t last: his son was completely disabled, and Berry Gordy sold Motown in 1988. Horn was edged out of the sound room, and fell on hard times. Meanwhile, his now ex-wife was in charge of a hefty settlement from the hospital for his son’s disability. 
In the spring of 1992, Thomas Turner heard a knock on the door of his Detroit home; it was his cousin Lawrence Horn. Horn told Turner about his money issues, about the overdue child support payments and the narrow L.A. apartment he was relegated to, and how Mildred had all the money and he had none, and the $1.7 million trust fund in Trevor’s name. Turner handed Horn a business card, one that had the phrases “spiritual adviser” and “House of Wisdom” printed on it. It was for a self-described minister named James Edward Perry.

“Give Mr. Perry a call,” Turner said to his cousin. “He helps people.”
On March 2nd, 1993, Perry entered Mildred Horn’s home and killed her, her disabled son, and the child’s caretaker. Uproxx tells the tale of the events that let up to that night, and how Perry and Horn were linked to the murder.

Two people injured after flying manhole cover hit taxi

A New York taxi driver and his passenger were injured when the yellow cab was struck by a flying manhole cover early on Monday morning. At around 6:30am, the manhole exploded at 44th Street and Lexington Avenue. Debris from the explosion crashed into a taxi. The cover hit the hood of the taxi and shot through the windshield.
Good Samaritan Bernard Vickers rushed to assist the injured people. “I just happened to look and saw what happened, and I immediately reacted,” Vickers said. After hearing a loud boom, Vickers saw the mangled taxi outside the Starbucks Coffee where he works. Without hesitation, Vickers jumped into action, and was first to free the driver.
“I ran outside to check on the cab’s passenger and driver. The driver’s window was down, so I helped him get out the window,” he said. Next, Vickers helped the passenger out. “He was scared, he was traumatised, and as he was climbing out the sunroof, he, like, rolled - so I just made sure he landed safely,” Vickers said.

The driver and the passenger were taken to Bellevue Hospital Center and were treated for minor injuries. By Monday night, relatives at the driver’s home said he was out of the hospital. The manhole which exploded was a large, square grate in the middle of the road. It is thought a problem with an underground electrical cable may have caused the blast.

The Truth Be Told


10 Spectacular Radio Telescopes Around The World

Radio telescopes can be found the world over. They are used in radio astronomy, the science of studying celestial objects such as galaxies and stars as well as more difficult to understand phenomena such as Masers and Pulsars.
They also collect and track data from space probes and satellites that we have shot up in to the atmosphere and space. Here are some of the more significant and - in terms of design - beautiful radio telescopes in the world.

Pool pursues phantom pooper

The Tokoroa Indoor Pools on the North Island of New Zealand have become a dumping ground of sorts and the community is on the look out for the culprit. During the month of October the organization dealt with eight separate incidences where feces were found in the main pool.
And South Waikato District Council leisure services manager Heather Gaby believed it was no accident. "From time to time accidents happen however the increased frequency of this problem and the fact that it is occurring in the main pool suggests that it is no longer accidental."
If poo is found in the pool, swimmers are removed immediately and then it is cleared and treated with chemicals. The costs are "not significant" but Gaby said it was more about public inconvenience. "This is a totally unacceptable and selfish behavior which could cause a serious health risk and is a massive inconvenience to all users."
Pool staff are handing out a notice to all pool users on arrival, between 3-6.30pm, which outlines the problem. "We are asking all users to be vigilant and report suspicious behavior. Any offender will face serious consequences," she said. The council has also put on an additional staff member who will be on duty solely to patrol the main pool.

The Moscow Metro Has Some Beautiful Stations

The Moscow Metro has 195 stations and its route length is 325.4 km (202.2 mi). Opened in 1935 with one 11-kilometre (6.8 mi) line and 13 stations, it was the first underground railway system in the Soviet Union.

The Moscow Metro is the busiest metro system outside of Asia, the world's busiest by daily ridership and the 6th longest in the world. Of those 195 stations many have interesting architecture and design that reflect the era they were built in.

Johnny Depp buys a bath in Norwich

Johnny Depp has purchased a bath from a bathroom shop in Norwich.
The actor is said to have bought an antique bathtub from Stiffkey Bathrooms, in Upper St Giles Street.
While Depp did not visit the shop in person, his new bath holds pride of position in the shop window - complete with a tag stating “SOLD - Mr J Depp, Los Angeles, USA”

The French Bateau bath on ornate feet dates back to 1880 and had a price tag of £5,000. Dan Hide, who runs Stiffkey Bathrooms with business partner Marc Brown, said the bath would be shipped out to America soon.

A Train So Luxurious, You Can Ride in a Bathtub

If you're trying to get between Point A and Point B as quickly as possible, then South Africa's Rovos Rail isn't for you. It offers luxurious tours across southern Africa, hauled by one of several restored antique steam engine locomotives. It takes 15 days to travel from Cape Town to Dar es Salaam--a journey that takes only a few hours by air.
On one of these long expeditions, you can travel in luxurious surroundings designed to resemble a lost, golden age of elite railway travel. If you get a royal suite, you can sit in a full-size bathtub and watch the scenery go by outside enormous windows. There is also a classically-decorated dining car. Gentlemen must wear jackets and ties while dining there.
Now put your cellphones away. There are no televisions, radios, or Wi-Fi on this train. Travellers are not allowed to use electronic devices outside of their suites. Instead, you're supposed to, well, talk to each other.

The Whiskey Wars That Left Brooklyn in Ruins

In 1862 the new Bureau of Internal Revenue began taxing whiskey as a means of funding the Civil War. The tax rose for years until the government’s take was more than the the value of the liquor, and distilleries went underground to avoid it. Avoiding the tax was so profitable that even when the rate was cut, it was avoided at all cost. For a couple of years, both the moonshiners and the revenuers got completely out of hand in the Vinegar Hill section of Brooklyn.
Two thousand soldiers had just attacked the neighborhood, targeting moonshiners who were evading taxes on a colossal scale. Since the federal government couldn’t exactly audit the underground operations, it demolished their operations. That morning, November 2, 1870, battalions under the command of Colonel John L. Broome arrived by boat from nearby forts. Guided by the revenue assessors, they left the Brooklyn Navy Yard at 9am and marched through the narrow streets armed with muskets, axes, and crowbars.
It was the latest in a series of raids known as the Whiskey Wars. Illicit distilling had become so widespread, and gangs so violent, that revenue officials and cops needed military backup. One of the first “battles” came in October 1869, when100 army veterans found nine stills after a knife-and-fist fight in an alley. Its success led President Ulysses Grant to authorize more forceful raids, using the army and navy if necessary. The next battle, at dawn two months later, included 500 artillerymen, who landed on the East River by tugboat and wore white-ribbon Internal Revenue badges. They axed barrels and spilled the contents, gushing a stream of rum into the street. Tubs discovered underground were pumped empty. By afternoon they had destroyed stills that could produce 250 barrels of liquor—worth $5,000 in taxes—a day.
Read about how the Whiskey Wars came about, and how they ended, at Smithsonian.

Dates from Viking fortress confirm it could have been built by Harald Bluetooth

Søren M. Sindbæk and Nanna Holm show the remains of the charred planks at one of the gateways to the fortress. Image: © The Danish Castle Centre
Archaeologists from the Danish Castle Center and Aarhus University announced in September of this year, the discovery of a Viking fortress in a field belonging to Vallø Manor, located west of Køge on the east coast of Zealand.
When the discovery was published back in September, we were certain that we had found a Viking ring fortress, but since then there have been intense discussions online and amongst archaeologists about whether we were right. Now we know without doubt that we have found a fortress from the 10th century,” says archaeologist Nanna Holm, curator of the Danish Castle Centre.
Two carbon-14 dating results have removed all doubt regarding the authenticity of the Viking fortress. The carbon-14 dating was performed by the AMS 14C Dating Centre at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Aarhus University in close collaboration with Accium BioSciences’ laboratories in Seattle.
The two samples were both taken from the outermost tree rings of charred logs that were found in the northern gateway of the fortress. The results of the two samples are almost identical: The fortress was built in the period between the year 900 and the beginning of the 11th century,” explains Marie Kanstrup, an employee at the AMS 14C Dating Centre at the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Aarhus University.
A more precise date
Søren Sindbæk, a professor of medieval archaeology at Aarhus University, explains that archaeologists are still working to date the fortress more precisely.
We would like to determine a specific year. The carbon-14 method can’t provide that, but we are working on different methods that can help us date the fortress even more precisely.”
We can’t say whether or not it’s Harald Bluetooth’s fortress yet, but now that we’ve dated it to the 10th century, the trail is getting hotter. The things we’ve discovered about the fortress during the excavations all point in the same direction. We already know that there’s a good chance that we’ll find conclusive evidence next year,” says Sindbæk.
A symbol of power
Even though the excavations have closed for this year, the finds bode well for future efforts. The archaeologists’ investigations have also revealed that the Viking fortress was built right next to the open sea.
The excavation showed that there was a basin of fresh or brackish water right next to one side of the fortress – presumably a quite narrow inlet leading out to Køge Bay. When the fortress was built, hundreds of tonnes of the heavy clay subsoil would have had to have been dug out into the sea basin,” explains Nanna Holm.
According to Nanna Holm, this work was undertaken for no other reason than to give the fortress an impressive location. The structure was meant to signal power.
The excavation has also shown that the construction of the fortress is closely related to other Viking fortresses such as Fyrkat near Hobro, Aggersborg near the Limfjord and Trelleborg near Slagelse. These fortresses were undoubtedly built during the reign of Harald Bluetooth, and still more evidence suggests that Borgring, as the fortress has been named, might have belonged to the same building program.
There are a lot of similar details in these structures. And it’s been wonderful to see the same things coming to light at Borgring. In addition to the structure of the rampart and the gates, we have also found traces of a street with wood paving running along the inside of the rampart – just like in Fyrkat, Aggersborg and Trelleborg. The most striking thing, however, is the measurements of the fortress. The rampart of Borgring is 10.6 metres wide. That is exactly the same width as the rampart of Fyrkat. So it’s hard to avoid the sense that the same master builder was responsible,” says Sindbæk.

Town Creek Indian Mound Was Once an Active Village

New excavations at Town Creek Indian Mound by archaeologist Tony Boudreaux of East Carolina University challenge the idea that the site served strictly as a ceremonial center inhabited by priests and visited once a year by local people. “Early on, when the Mississippian community was first founded, there seemed to be a village of at least ten houses, maybe more. There was no mound yet. There were public buildings in the area where the mound would be built,” Boudreaux explained to The News Observer. He suggests that as the residents died, they were buried in the floors of their homes until the area became a cemetery containing the remains of more than 500 people. Eventually the mound and the temple on top of it were constructed. “That’s the place where the ancestors live, where the chief is on the mound performing ceremonial activities that will help keep the universe spinning,” he said. To read about a recent discovery near Cahokia, see "Mississippian Burning."

How Farming Almost Destroyed Ancient Human Civilization

by Annalee Newitz
How Farming Almost Destroyed Ancient Human Civilization
Roughly 9,000 years ago, humans had mastered farming to the point where food was plentiful. Populations boomed, and people began moving into large settlements full of thousands of people. And then, abruptly, these proto-cities were abandoned for millennia. It's one of the greatest mysteries of early human civilization. More

Brought To Life

Early humans dating back 17,000 years are seemingly made alive in startlingly life-like recreations.

Gravity and The Big Bang

Astronomers harness the galaxy's biggest telescopeGravity may have saved the universe after the Big Bang

New research by a team of European physicists could explain why the universe did not collapse immediately after the Big Bang. Studies of the Higgs particle – discovered at CERN […]

Man chased into home by angry groundhog

The McGraths of Hampton, New Hampshire, are used to friendly critters stopping by their backyard, but a frenetic visit on Tuesday morning from their resident groundhog was anything but a welcomed encounter. Gary McGrath was unloading his truck when the roughly two-foot-long groundhog came barreling toward him. What started out as a comical sight quickly turned into a somewhat scary incident for the 65-year-old as he watched the plump animal running at a brisk jog in his direction.
“Out of the corner of my eye I saw something move, then it came running,” said McGrath. “I kicked it away, but then it got back up and came back at me again. I kicked it away again, and it came right back.” That’s when McGrath ran into his garage and shut the door, only to have the groundhog circle around to the other side of the garage and get in through a different open door. “He was out to get me,” said McGrath. “Fortunately he doesn’t run very fast, but neither do I. My first thought was, ‘He’s being awful friendly,’ when he came up to me the first time.
“He’s normally friendly. After he came after me again, I thought, ‘Wait, he wants something.’” The groundhog, which McGrath’s grandchildren enjoy looking for when they come to visit, then bared its teeth as it chased McGrath into his house. It didn’t stop there, as McGrath said it the animal began digging at the glass-and-metal door, furiously attempting to bite and claw its way inside. McGrath’s wife Carol suspects the groundhog was sick due to rabies. The animal was always docile when they encountered it previously, and Carol said she often enjoyed its presence because it would eat the weeds on their property.
“We were lucky,” she said of the “crazy” and “freaky” ordeal. “You’re just in a kind of disbelief when something like that happens.” The couple called Hampton Animal Control Officer Peter MacKinnon for help, watching in amazement as the groundhog continued to dig at the door and a corner of leaf-covered dirt next to the front stairs before MacKinnon arrived. The groundhog also tried to attack MacKinnon when he got out of his truck, forcing him to jump back into the vehicle and slam the door before the animal could get inside. MacKinnon used a rifle to kill the animal after he exited his vehicle, and the groundhog’s body will now be tested for rabies.

A Russian Miner Takes These Amazing Fox Photos on his Breaks from Work

Ivan Kislov works as a mining engineer in Russia's Chukotka region, the environment of which is arctic tundra. To relax in his spare time during long shifts at work, Kislov says he likes to observe the wildlife, often capturing it with a camera.
Kislov tells Bored Panda that he photographs a lot of foxes, due to their curious nature, as they are willing to come close to him. He also shoots with wide angle and telephoto lenses to get a more intimate feel.
See more of Kislov's wonderful photos at his website, 500px site or on Facebook.

Dog Joins Swedish Adventure Racing Team

The Peak Performance adventure racing team from Sweden competed in an adventure race in Ecuador. The team of Staffan, Mikael, Karen, and Simon finished the race in 12th place -pretty good, considering they weren’t used to the altitude- and also came back with a new team member, a dog named Arthur.
The team first encountered Arthur on the muddy trekking – the second last stage. They tried to send him off a few times but he always showed up beside the team again as they made their way through the trekking. In the beginning it went well, but when it became muddy he was having problem and the team had to help Arthur through some of the deepest mud.

Arthur followed the team all the way to TA9 and waited with the team. But then he suddenly got very worried and stressed as he realized the team would get out on the water. The organization gave the advice not to bring dog Arthur out on the last leg – a dog in the kayak didn’t seem like a great idea – and the team was going to follow this advice.

Mike, Simon, Staffan and Karen put their kayaks down in the water and set off, but Arthur refused to be left and started swimming. This was too heartbreaking for the team, and Mikael helped Arthur up in the kayak. This led to standing ovations from everyone on the shore, seeing the five (!) team mates set off.
Later, they revealed that Arthur was their constant companion after they gave him a meatball. Swedish meatballs are powerful stuff. A translation from the group’s Facebook page says they are working to take Arthur home with them to Sweden. 

Hunter shooting at dead deer shot second hunter

A man from Dutchess County, New York, hunting in Stormville injured a second hunter on Saturday after firing at a dead deer being hauled out of a wooded area, according to East Fishkill police.
The second hunter, also from Dutchess, had killed a deer and was using a cart to remove it from property on Stormville Mountain, owned by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, said Kevin Keefe, chief of the East Fishkill Police Department.
The first hunter saw the deer moving, thought it was alive, fired and struck the first hunter in the hand and buttocks. The injured hunter was taken to Danbury Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The incident occurred at about 10:25am. One hunter was from Wappingers Falls, the other was from Beacon.
Keefe said East Fishkill police assisted the state Department of Environmental Conservation police, who have jurisdiction over the incident because the state regulates hunting. The regular deer and bear southern zone hunting seasons opened at sunrise last Saturday and runs through until Sunday, Dec. 7.

Birds boozed-up on berries taken to avian drunk tank so they can sober up safely

Birds in Yukon, Canada, are getting tipsy on fermented berries, so Environment Yukon has set up an avian drunk tank where they can sober up safely. With snow on the ground, birds are eating all they can before the colder weather ahead, and Bohemian waxwings love to eat mountain ash berries.
"What happens around this time of year is that after the frost, the berries will ferment and so the birds actually can get a little intoxicated from eating these berries and they do in fact get drunk," said Meghan Larivee with the animal health unit at Environment Yukon.
Tipsy birds have a harder time controlling their flight movements, and like people, their co-ordination under the influence is wonky. It can even be deadly. "So they're flying around but they're not as good at avoiding obstacles," Larivee said. "Hitting windows is not uncommon."
If you come across a little bird that is drunk or unconscious, Environment Yukon will take it and put it in a holding tank of sorts - a hamster cage, "so they can sober up until they are able to be released," said Larivee. If more care is required, like one bird last week, it goes to rehab at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve. "We'll basically try to keep it nice and quiet, away from stress," said Yukon Wildlife Preserve curator Maria Hallock.
There's a news video here.

Interpol's Most Wanted

The agency looks to the public for help locating nine fugitives suspected of committing serious environmental crimes.

Tagging Leads To Death

Acoustic tags used to study animals can function like a dinner bell, drawing hungry predators.

Elephants and Trees

elephants-sm-300x200As elephants go, so go the trees

Research shows hunting can have catastrophic effects on tropical forests Overhunting has been disastrous for elephants, but their forest habitats have also been caught in the crossfire. A first-of-its-kind study […]

Animal Pictures